City of Albemarle: Strategic Planning for the Future

From 2020 to 2022, Centralina Regional Council supported the City of Albemarle’s Council, Administration and staff of the City of Albemarle in developing a three-year Strategic Plan.

Why It’s Important

The City of Albemarle embarked on their Strategic Planning process as a natural next step in their organizational growth and development. City Manager Michael Ferris commented that, “The City of Albemarle is a complex operation and like any governmental unit we have more needs than we can address at once. Over several years, our process had grown to incorporate capital improvement programming, the use of a financial advisor, the development of long-term financial strategies and goals, and increased collaboration in the planning and budgeting processes. The next logical step to tie all this together was to develop a Strategic Plan, which was adopted in May of this year.” 

The Solution

Centralina designed the Strategic Planning process and the City Council and Administration team progressed at steady pace that was productive and garnered participation from City leadership and stakeholders. Most of the process was conducted during COVID-19. The investment of time, resources and staff capacity to develop the Strategic Plan during the pandemic is commendable considering the demands that the public health response placed on local government staff and elected leaders. The Council’s involvement and leadership throughout the process ensured that the plan reflected their priorities and their commitment to the future of Albemarle.

Through this Strategic Planning process, the City of Albemarle accomplished the following: 

  • Enhanced its annual budget development process to support strategic objectives and reflect resident and stakeholder input (2020-2022)
  • Implemented a community survey to receive feedback from stakeholders on City priorities and community needs (2021)
  • Established a framework for the Strategic Plan and developed a vision for the City, Mission and set of core Values (2021)
  • Set three-year Goals and corresponding Strategies to realize the Vision (2022)
  • Established a year one Implementation Plan for FY 2023 (2022)
  • Developed a Strategic Plan Evaluation and Monitoring framework (2022)

Ferris added that, “There was a great deal of hard work put into the Plan’s development, and the City’s elected and staff leadership team wants to be successful and therefore supports working within the boundaries of the adopted Plan.”  


Now that Albemarle’s Strategic Plan has been adopted by City Council it will provide for greater direction and alignment between City staff and Council as they work together through an ongoing process to identify important City issues and set annual budget priorities from fiscal year to fiscal year. Additionally, the City can utilize elements of the Plan in communications with the wider community to increase transparency and public knowledge of City matters. Ferris said that from a management perspective, “Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) will provide the data necessary to understand the status and effectiveness of current initiatives and where adjustments for improvement may be required.”